PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (CNS) — Haiti’s Catholic bishops urged political leaders to reach a negotiated solution to the country’s looming political crisis as President Michel Martelly’s term ends Feb. 7 and elections to find a successor have been indefinitely delayed.
“It is high time that the people know how we will run the country after that date,” the bishops said in a statement released Feb. 1 after meeting in an extraordinary assembly.
The church leaders urged that a “mutually acceptable” agreement must be reached quickly “with wisdom, insight, moderation and patriotism.”
“It is imperative to prepare all the Haitian people to manage the coming days as responsible citizens,” the bishops said in calling the country “to come together in order to reach an agreement based on the constitution and Haitian wisdom to ensure the continuity of the state and political stability of country in the respect for life, property and fundamental rights of the human person.”
The bishops pledged to accompany Haitians on “the path to dialogue, peace and development.”
The crisis has grown since the first round of elections in October to determine which candidates would have faced off in December. The vote later was delayed until Jan. 24, then was called off by the country’s electoral commission over safety concerns.
Martelly is constitutionally prohibited from seeking re-election, and his term ends Feb. 7. He has backed little-known candidate Jovenel Moise, who won the first round of voting with about a third of the vote. Moise remains the favorite.
However, opposition candidate Jude Celestin, who finished a close second to Moise, has refused to campaign, charging that the government was working against him.
Haiti’s 213-year history has been marred by discord and conflict. The country suffered one of its most severe setbacks in 2010 when a devastating earthquake claimed tens of thousands of lives and left more than 1.5 million people homeless in Port-au-Prince and its surroundings. Hundreds of people continue to live in tent camps that popped up after the disaster.
Martelly has been criticized by opposition leaders, who cited his inability to live up to campaign promises to remake Haiti’s image in the wake of the earthquake. He also has alienated many former supporters because of his brashness and go-it-alone attitude.
In a time to build, CatholicPhilly.com connects people and communities
As society emerges from the loss and separation of the pandemic, CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you join in our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103